Here’s a conversation I had during my encounter with a new friend on Whatsapp. We were both moving to a different city from our hometown in a few days. As a more ‘easy-to-network’ generation, we connected through various social networks. We were going to the same company, the same place with the same purpose. How lucky was I to get connected to this new friend?
Me: I am from Madhya Pradesh. Glad to hear from you.
Roshita: Me too. We can be friends now since we have chatted.
Me: Ya sure! I hope we will be.
Roshita: Is somebody coming all the way to Chennai to drop you?
Roshita: Someone will. It’s pretty far from my city. Also, I am moving out from my hometown for the first time. I have been a pampered kid lately.
Me: Ditto! I so get your story!
Roshita: We are on the same boat; we seem to get along well. You are not a Bengali too…are you?
Me: Nope, yar! I am not. Since you are in the city of Lord Durga, wishing you a Happy Durga Puja!
Roshita: Thank You.
You might wonder why I started with this conversation…Doesn’t this discussion remind you of something? It is natural to look for people with similar interests and thoughts when you are alone, in a new city, or an entirely new culture. It even gets to us when we start for a college education or relocate for a new job. But, in the hunt to find familiar people, haven’t we been a bit biased?
Cultures, religion, belongingness connect us and create a division by letting the formation of small covens. We have faced a hundred events of stereotypes, each one of us. I don’t want to name any of those, so they do not leave any ‘prints’ on your mind if you were never aware of them earlier. But why do we dismiss the thought of discussing this!
Two people from the same states or cities may get along well! There is nothing wrong with being with the right people. But looking through the glasses of stereotypes, our vision is blurred, and we might miss out a lot. I always hope and pray for a life where prejudices haven’t hindered our togetherness. That there shouldn’t be ‘filters’ in our views and opinions. Every varied personality deserves a fair chance. Shouldn’t we be more welcoming? It is great to see close groups such as ‘the cool Burkha Gang,’ ‘ the Mallu gang,’ but it might be much better to see ‘the party animals,’ ‘the shy cult’ or the ‘writers’ or ‘photographers adda!’
What do you say?
Even though it is an automated system in our minds, connectivity works for us through similarities. It will take us a while to change, accept, and many more repeated reminders like this one. But, let’s try not to fall into the traps of biases and prejudices, even if that needs a conscious effort. I am urging so because we learn at schools, colleges, or offices, the lesson to smile and open our arms to diversity! The diversity of personalities and interests!